The first time Elsa caught Honeymaren staring at her, she didn't really think anything of it. She was kind of used to people staring at her. It had happened all the time in Arendelle and she'd chalked it up to either being the Queen or her magic, or some combination of the two.
The looks she got in Arendelle were different now. Elsa thought at first that maybe the people were upset with her for abdicating, but Anna had quickly dispelled that illusion. Then Elsa had worried that they weren't upset, but Anna had dispelled that illusion too. It's a change, Elsa. They love us both and accept that we know what's best for them, and for us. We just have to keep doing the next right thing.
And the Northuldra stared at her too. The descendant of the man who'd betrayed them, the fifth spirit, and a stranger of sorts. It would take time for them to get used to her. Time for Elsa to get used to herself.
So when she looked at Honeymaren, who quickly averted her eyes and mumbled something Elsa could barely hear, she just thought that they all needed time to get to know one another. So she resolved to spend more time with her.
The first time Honeymaren caught Elsa staring at her, she'd been distracted by the other woman's lips as she spoke. They looked so soft, and were so red that she wondered if they'd taste like apples. Which only sent Honeymaren's mind cascading through increasingly erotic imagery until she snapped her eyes up to Elsa's and realized she had the woman's undivided attention. "What is it?" She asked, hoping against hope that Elsa hadn't noticed her staring.
"You have beautiful eyes," Elsa said, her hand half extended towards Honeymaren before she seemed to catch herself and instead awkwardly tucked some of her own hair behind her ear.
"Thank you." It was only then that Honeymaren realized how close they were sitting to each other, legs brushing, shoulders touching. She cleared her throat, standing quickly. "I uhm. I have to help my brother."
"Of course." Elsa folded her hands in her lap, rubbing them together in a way that Honeymaren had come to understand meant she was nervous. "I have … spirity things to do."
The third time Elsa caught Honeymaren staring at her, it had actually been Kristoff who'd noticed. "Don't look now, but you've got an admirer."
"I'm sorry, what?" Elsa started to turn away from Kristoff and the reindeer they were brushing.
"I said don't look!"
"Then how am I supposed to see?" Elsa rolled her eyes, creating a small ice mirror so she could pretend to check her make-up while actually using it to see … Honeymaren. A snow flurry immediately began to form in her stomach. "Oh she's … been doing that a lot lately."
"Oh really." Kristoff leaned on Sven's shoulder as the two exchanged knowing looks.
"She's probably just … checking out our progress with the reindeer." The herd didn't actually really need much brushing today, but she'd wanted some bonding time with her future brother-in-law outside of game night and it was either ice or reindeer, and the latter let him come to the forest which she knew he always liked to do.
Snorting, 'Sven' said, "Yeah. Sure."
Kristoff continued, "We're going to give you some advice, Elsa."
"First," 'Sven' nodded sagely. "You get her alone, and you talk."
"We do talk!" When Elsa could remember how to speak around her at any rate.
"Serenade her," Kristoff added.
"Then you lean in for a kiss."
Elsa held up her hands and waved them frantically. "Okay! Okay! I don't need kissing advice from a reindeer!"
Kristoff unpuckered his lips and darted his eyes. "Right. Getting a little too into that. Look, we're just trying to help and … she's cute. More importantly she's kind and brave, and let's be real, I've seen the way you look at her. Give it a chance, see where it goes."
Cute? Elsa glanced in the mirror again, just as Honeymaren laughed at something her brother said. More like beautiful.
Honeymaren had never known one could lose track of someone staring at her, but it seemed for every time she caught herself staring at Elsa, she caught Elsa staring back. When they sat near each other, they sat too close. When they walked together, sometimes their hands would brush and most of the time they'd be walking in step.
Sometimes, she'd visit Arendelle with Elsa, which still took some getting used to, as then she'd miss home. But mostly, when Elsa was in Ahtohallan or Arendelle, Honeymaren missed her.
This time, Honeymaren didn't realize Elsa was there until she spoke up. "Hey."
Startled, she turned around to see Elsa trotting over on the Nokk, her maddeningly beautiful hair flowing behind her. She spent exactly three seconds trying to remember how to speak. "...Hey."
"Want to go for a ride?"
"Sure, let me…" She gestured towards the herd. "Get them settled and see who wants to let me ride them today."
Elsa looked at the reindeer and then returned her gaze to Honeymaren, her smile radiant. "Of course."
It took Honeymaren three tries to get her steed ready to go before she mounted her, and followed Elsa out into the forest. Elsa slowed enough so that they could ride abreast of each other, then grinned wickedly. "Race you to the river."
Then she took off in a plume of kicked up snow, which, frankly, was unfair considering she was magic, but Honeymaren had grown up in this forest and knew every inch of it. And she was learning all the places around it now, too.
So Elsa didn't stand a chance. Honeymaren nudged her reindeer forward, taking one of her favorite shortcuts. The wind whipped at her face as she darted full speed beneath a low-hanging branch and then veered slightly to the west. Every once in awhile she could catch a glimpse of Elsa or the Nokk speeding between the trees.
The shocked look on Elsa's face when she emerged from the trees to find Honeymaren waiting near the river made her giggle. She leaned forward on the reindeer's head. "You really thought you could beat me?"
"I'd had the thought…" Elsa slipped from the Nokk's back, and Honeymaren hopped to the ground to join her. "Next time we can race on open land."
"I'll still beat you." Honeymaren smirked up at Elsa as she came chest to chest with her.
"Probably," Elsa murmured, the fingers of her right hand brushing across the knuckles of Honeymaren's left. "I uhm … wanted. That is to say I think you're really swell."
Honeymaren raised an eyebrow, even as her heart started to beat out of her chest. "Swell?"
Elsa squeezed her eyes shut, her face crinkling up in an adorable manner. "Oh god, I told Anna-"
"No, no, I like it!" Honeymaren took Elsa's hand and squeezed it, then stroked her cheek. "I really think you're swell too. And sweet. And pretty. And funny. And-"
Elsa's lips were warmer than Honeymaren expected, and just as soft.
And they really did taste like apples.